'Bring people in from the margins,' urges UN chief on World Social Justice Day

Pedestrian waits to cross in Mumbai, India. Photo: Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank

20 February 2016 – The United Nations top official today called on Member States to build inclusive societies free of discrimination, in which all people can live with dignity and opportunities to improve their lives, as he observed the World Day of Social Justice.

“With exclusion and inequality on the rise, we must step up efforts to ensure that all people, without discrimination, are able to access opportunities to improve their lives and those of others,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message, stressing the need to “build inclusive societies, promote decent work, bolster social protection floors, and bring people in from the margins.”

In 2015, the UN adopted a new 15-year development plan involving all Member States, known as 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also adopted a framework for development financing, or Addis Ababa Action Agenda, as well the Paris Agreement, pact to mitigate the impact of climate change.

The international community has thus pledged to end poverty by 2030 through effective integrated social, economic and environmental policies, he said, emphasizing that these landmark blueprints for a better world provide invaluable tools and a powerful vision to meet the needs of today's generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.

“Social justice must be at the heart of our efforts,” Mr. Ban said.

In all efforts, partnerships are essential, as sustainable development is only possible with the active engagement of governments, parliaments, employers, workers, civil society, the private sector and other agents of change, he said.

In 2007, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice, inviting Member States to devote the day to national activities in line with its purposes. Observing the World Day should support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.


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